CONGRESSWOMAN SHELLEY BERKLEY (D-NV) today [August 3, 2007] released a letter to President Bush signed by a bipartisan coalition of more than 100 members of Congress expressing strong opposition to the sale of $20 billion in high tech weapons to Saudi Arabia. The letter voices the coalition's intention to vote in Congress to stop the arms transfer.
"Saudi Arabia has produced the majority of suicide bombers in Iraq who are attacking American troops every single day. This is the nation that was home to 15 of the 9/11 hijackers and that has trained and harbored murderers responsible for countless deaths," said Berkley. "The Saudis have broken promise after promise and frankly, I do not trust them with weapons that could someday be used against America and our allies. Providing these weapons to Saudi Arabia only rewards their support for Al Qaeda and their role in funding terrorism throughout the Middle East, including attacks aimed at U.S. military forces and at Israel."
"I will vote to block this arms sale because it risks allowing sophisticated weapons to fall into the hands of those who continue to attack U.S. forces in Iraq and who have sworn to destroy America and its allies," said Berkley.
The following is the text of the letter signed by Congresswoman Berkley and 114 Members of the House:
Dear President Bush:
We are writing to express our deep opposition to the proposed sale of high technology armaments to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. If a sale containing weapons for Saudi Arabia is proposed to Congress under the Arms Export Control Act of 1976, we intend to vote to stop it.
Saudi Arabia has not behaved like an ally of the United States. They have exported fighters and suicide bombers to the war in Iraq. They have provided funding for terrorist activities throughout the world. And the Saudis have refused to play a constructive role in the West Bank and Gaza.
The United States should not send potentially destabilizing weapons to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
(Note: A full list of the 114 Members of Congress expressing their support for Berkley's efforts is available upon request).
Before arriving in Saudi Arabia earlier this week, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced that the U.S. has begun negotiations with the Saudi Arabian government on a multi-billion dollar arms sale package of advanced weaponry. The package reportedly includes satellite guided bombs accurate enough to shoot through the window of a building from jets in any weather. The United States has never sold such advance munitions to Saudi Arabia before. The sale would also upgrade the capability of the Saudi Air Force and provide new naval vessels.
Congress may reject any large arms sale according to the Arms Control Export Act of 1976. The President is required to officially notify Congress of an impending arms deal, who then has 30 days to trigger a review and pass a Joint Resolution of Disapproval. The Joint Resolution of Disapproval has been used in the past by Congress to affect weapons sales to Saudi Arabia.
American officials in Iraq have said recently the majority of suicide bombers in Iraq are from Saudi Arabia and that about 45 percent of all foreign fighters are Saudi. Despite assurances to the contrary, Saudi Arabia continues to bankroll terrorist organizations that have attacked both the United States and Israel. In sworn testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in November 2005, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Daniel L. Glaser indicated that the Saudi Arabian government refuses to crack down on the World Association of Muslim Youth (WAMY), which spreads radical Wahhabism and finances Hamas and Al Qaeda. 70% of the most-wanted international terrorists are Saudi Arabians.